There are various popular and interesting legends of St. Valentine’s Day. One of the legends links it to the early Christian church and a priest named Valentine who lived in Rome during the tyrannical reign of Emperor Claudius II. Under his rule, Rome was engaged in several bloody battles. To strengthen his army, he kept trying to recruit more soldiers but because of their family ties, young men tried to avoid joining the army. So to break this attachment, Claudius canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome.
Valentine defied the decrees by secretly arranging marriages to take place. When the Emperor found this out, he had Valentine brutally beaten and put to death on Feb. 14 about 270 AD.
Legend also tells us that while in prison Valentine was missed greatly by children. So the children began to toss loving notes and flowers between the bars of his cell windows. In time, the legend goes on, he made friends with the jailer’s blind daughter who brought to him notes and flowers from children who loved him.
Days before his execution, Valentine prayed for the jailer’s daughter and she regained her sight. The legend also says that before his death he wrote a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter and signed it ”From Your Valentine.”
For his martyrdom and dedication to the teachings of the church, he was declared a saint after his death. By the Middle Ages he became so popular as the patron Saint of Love that Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day, an occasion to celebrate love.
As I read the statement ”an occasion to celebrate love,” I thought of occasions during our spiritual journey that we have to celebrate God’s love. The first thought that came to mind is that every time we read the Gospels, it is an occasion to celebrate God’s love for us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16
When we come to the communion table, it is an occasion to celebrate God’s love for us.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” -1 John 4:10
Every time we meet someone in need and reach out to help that person, it is an occasion to celebrate God’s love for us.
A little boy about 10 years old was standing outside a shoe store window, barefoot, peering through the window and shivering with the cold. A lady approached the boy and said, “Little boy, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?” He replied: “I was asking God for a pair of shoes.” The lady took the boy by the hand and went into the shoe store. She asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if the clerk could bring her a basin of water. When he did, she took the boy to the back of the store and washed his feet, put a pair of the socks on him and then bought him a pair of shoes. She had the clerk tie up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to the boy.
As she turned to go, the boy caught her hand and said, “Are you God’s wife?” “No,” she said, “But I am one of God’s children.” “Well,” the boy said, “I ‘knowed’ you must be related to him.”
In God’s Love,
-printed in the February 2015 issue of the Tapestry.